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Coming up with new meal ideas for toddlers and preschoolers can be a challenge.

You want the food to be healthy, for sure, but also easy to get on the table fast.

Because when little tummies are hungry, they want their food NOW.

Here are some super simple meals your kiddos will love to eat!

Breakfast ideas for toddlers

Listen, on weekday mornings, you don’t have to hassle with making Mickey Mouse shaped pancakes or from scratch blueberry muffins to serve something your child will eat up fast.

Here are some breakfast meals toddlers will like almost as much:

Whole grain waffle with various toppings

I put a dab of butter on and then instead of jam, I spread baby-food fruit or applesauce on the waffle. You can also go with peanut butter and jelly, or smear yogurt on top.

Fancy toast

Skip butter and jam in favor of spreading mashed avocado on top of a piece of whole-grain toast.

You can also mash banana and spread that over toast along with some peanut butter for healthy fat and protein.

Another option? A whole-grain English muffin with cream cheese and a side of fruit.

Anything with blueberries in it

My kids like yogurt with blueberries in it and a slice of toast. You can also put blueberries in oatmeal, too, and make a game of finding (and eating) the berries in the cereal.

Eggs and toast

Scrambled eggs are great, but fried eggs are faster to make.

A favorite of ours is an over easy fried egg on top of a piece of buttered toast. Serve with a side of fruit.

Leftover weekend treats

Make banana bread or pancakes on the weekend and save some to use during the week (freeze pancakes to use over multiple weeks).

I spread a bit of butter on it (and real maple syrup for pancakes) and serve it with a side of fruit.

Granola bars

When mornings get hectic and you just need to get out the door, having a stash of soft granola bars can be a lifesaver.

Your kids can eat them in the car to get something in their bellies.

Quick list: Breakfast ideas for toddlers

  • Whole grain waffle with various toppings: butter and pureed fruit, applesauce, peanut butter and jelly, or yogurt
  • Homemade banana bread with some butter on it, or pancakes, and a side of fruit
  • Whole grain toast spread with smashed avocado, or mashed banana and peanut butter
  • Yogurt with blueberries in it and a slice of toast
  • Oatmeal with blueberries
  • Eggs (scrambled or fried) with toast and a side of fruit
  • English muffin with cream cheese and a side of fruit
  • Soft granola bars

Toddler meal ideas for lunch or dinner

Finding healthy, savory foods your child loves to eat is typically more difficult than serving foods that are sweet.

But it’s really important for children to develop a taste for savory foods at a young age (this post explains why).

Try foods that are softer and not too spicy.

Here are the quick dishes that my kids devour:

Meatballs or sausage

Many parents find their toddlers aren’t into eating much meat. My kids shy away from chicken breasts, steak, or pork.

But I’ve found that they’ll eat meatballs or sausage. I buy or make chicken or turkey meatballs or sausage and serve it with a side of veggies and a slice of bread and butter.

Vegetarian options

Hummus on a slice of bread with a side of veggies is a go-to for my youngest.

And pasta is always a win too, especially with either marinara sauce or a little butter or olive oil, parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of garlic powder and garlic salt.

Serve with a side of veggies like steamed broccoli, cauliflower or zucchini (you can make this ahead of time so it’s ready in the fridge) or try no-salt-added peas, corn, or green beans.

Burritos

Whether it’s a breakfast burrito – scrambled eggs and cheese – or a simple refried beans and cheese combo, older toddlers seem to love anything that comes wrapped up in a burrito.

Quick list: Lunch or dinner ideas for toddlers

  • Chicken or turkey meatballs or sausage with a side of veggies and a slice of bread with butter
  • Hummus on a slice of bread with a side of veggies
  • Pasta with butter, parmesan cheese, a sprinkle of garlic powder and salt and a side of veggies
  • Pasta with marinara sauce and side of veggies
  • Refried bean and cheese burritos or breakfast burritos for older toddlers
  • Any leftovers from our adult dinner the night before that aren’t too spiced and are relatively soft to chew

Snack ideas for toddlers

Kids are master snackers. As soon as you finish a meal and clean up, they’re asking for something to eat again.

Keep these items on hand so you’ll always have something quick and healthy to hand your child:

  • Thin slices of apple with a side of “dip” (the dip is actually yogurt!)
  • Dry cereal
  • Cracker “sandwiches” made by putting some spreadable cheese in between two crackers, served with a side of fruit
  • Bananas
  • Cheese sticks
  • Soft breakfast bars
  • Animal crackers or graham crackers
  • Yogurt
  • Crackers or whole grain type tortilla chips with hummus (for older toddlers)

When you’re short on time or energy, putting together toddler meals doesn’t have to be involved.

You can stock your fridge and pantry with many of the items in the meal ideas above and be ready whenever hunger strikes.

(When you have more time and want to cook from-scratch meals the entire family can enjoy, I recommend Weelicious: 140 Fast, Fresh, and Easy Recipes. My family especially likes the recipes for homemade meatballs, marinara, chicken and wild rice casserole, taquitos for older kids and avocado dipping sauce.)

78 Comments

  1. My lo like ice and anything frozen. I use a Ninja chopper to make a bowl of “ice” from steamed/pureed vegetables that have been frozen in ice cube trays (stored in ziplocks once frozen). Amazingly she loves it! I use the cubes in all kinds of things to hide veggies. Pureed cauliflower is almost lost in applesauce. Since they are pureed they can be added to almost anything and they are smoothie ready as well. We juice and make homemade ice pops from the juice.
    Thanks for all the great hints – love the peanut sauce with tahini (I used Braggs aminos instead-delicious).

  2. So many great ideas! I have such a hard time getting Peter, my 13 month old to eat veggies. He is also wicked picky! I can’t wait to try some of these ideas! I’m sure he is going to love the smoothies with hidden veggies!

  3. My son is a picky eater so I go a little over board trying new things. He LOVES squeezable kefir. Won’t touch yogurt. Tried making quesadillas tonight with him pulsing zucchini, eggplant and a little onion in the bullet and then spreading in quesadilla with lots of cheese. He was so excited but when we sat down wouldn’t touch it. Anything like pancakes breads grilled sandwiches made with cookie cutter shapes are a hit…except the quesadilla! He eats potato crusted fish and chicken nuggets and a lot of different fruit. Will also eat brown rice and quinoa mixed together with done garlic. Dosas, naan, dried veggie chips, and any kind of cheese. Mini bagels, smoothies, pretzels..dried fruit as well.

    I try a ton of new things but progress with new foods is slow! Breakfast is easy…waffles, pancakes, cereal, kefir, fruit. He’s the only kid I know that wont eat pizza or ice cream!

    • Deb, thanks for sharing your food ideas. Where do you get squeezable kefir?

  4. So happy I found this off pinterest! So far my 13 month old daughter is a good eater but it’s great to have reminders of different food choices. Brooke is big on honey wheat banana waffles, peanut butter toast with yogurt as a dipping sauce, broccoli, strawberries and bananas, avocado, oatmeal…just to name a few. 🙂

  5. thats a looottt of butter yogurt, try including milk to cut down that fat from the yogurt. Thats a lot of fat in a daily diet. try including other fats such as nuts.

    • Just to add what you said Amanda, I don’t think you should feed young children nuts until you feel that they are able to do so without it being a choking hazard. But I agree that nuts are a great source of carbs, protein and fat plus minerals. However, I would rather my kids drink less milk and eat yogurt more frequently because not only does it have the calcium of milk but it also offers probiotics which are essential for good digestion. Plus, my girls LOVE yogurt. 🙂

  6. Actually Instead of the mac n cheese in the box with all that sodium .. all you have to do .. is boil pasta ( i use ditilini ) after its nice and soft I drain it, put it back in the pan and add two slices or you can use one of any cheese you like a dab of butter and a little milk turn back on the heat and stir until melted, and there ya go homemade quick mac n cheese .. I feel better making her that than a box one.

    • Also you can add forzen peas and carrotts while you boil the pasta so you add veg. to the meal

  7. I will say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU too! I was in a rut, but am now inspired! My 22 month old and I thank you!

  8. Hi, thanks for the great ideas. When you steam the zuchinni and cauliflower, do you serve anything on it?

    • Hey Emily, thanks so much for stopping by. Sometimes I would add butter and a tad of salt, but most times I wouldn’t add anything. That way they would just get used to eating the most healthy way. But, whatever it takes to get them to est veggies!

  9. Ever try pork-n-beans pasta? I used to make this all the time because it is really tasty and I made it yesterday for lunch for my twins, and even my picky eater gobbled it down. Simply boil some pasta (I use small elbow noodles since they can grab them better) and warm up a can of pork-n-beans, and add the two together. It is a really simple pasta and is great in a pinch. I bet you can also add hot dogs to it too…

    • I’ve never tried that, but I have mixed pasta with a can of chili, topped it with shredded cheese and baked it to be a chili-mac casserole. Easy cold weather food like yours!

  10. Thanks for all the great ideas! One favorite meal for us is rice- bean balls. My husband makes rice with beans (usually black) and cilantro as a side dish. I melt cheddar cheese on the leftover rice and make balls. The cheese acts like a glue. My daughter (12 months old) grabs one with each hand and gobbles them up. I haven’t done so yet, but I plan to hide things like veggies or meat in them too.

    • That is a great idea! I like to make rice, black beans and fried plantains. Your rice balls would be a great way to repurpose the leftovers!

  11. Shana H. Boutte' Reply

    MY GOODNESS!!!! All I can say to you lovely ladies is THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!! As much as I hate to admit it, I RARELY cook because I HATE IT and for whatever reason it intimidates me!!! I just don’t want to mess anything up! (My husband marrried me for my sense of humor, definitely not my cooking! LOL!) These ideas are SO quick, easy and HEALTHY and I LOVE THEM ALL!!!! Thank you for making cooking less intimidating and more FUN!! Seriously, THANK YOU!!

    • Shana, I’m so happy that this list and everyone’s contributions helped. Good luck in the kitchen! Before you know it, you’ll be cooking garlic pasta (my kids love it and it’s super easy) and blueberry muffins from scratch!

  12. I have a very picky almost 3 yr old and a 15 mo old who spits out almost every vegetable I give! No peas, no corn…but I can hide spinach like a champ! I hide it in cheese quesadillas, grilled cheese sandwiches and scrambled eggs. Oatmeal is a go to for breakfast with baby food mixed in for added nutrition. The baby food pouches are great on the go snacks for the little guy, he loves them and they are healthy. Homemade zucchini bread and carrot muffins are usually a hit, made with whole wheat flour. Frozen whole wheat pancakes from Whole Foods are pretty tasty, a little variety from the waffles. Rotisserie chickens are awesome, soft and flavorful. Add some mashed potatoes with cauliflower hidden in them and it’s a balanced meal! I can get my oldest to eat almost anything if it is dipped in ranch. I hate it, but if it gets her to eat spinach salad, meat or carrot sticks, so be it!

    • Cheese quesadillas with spinach in it sounds like something I want to eat for lunch! Yum. Love the idea of hiding cauliflower in mashed potatoes too! Thanks for the tips Rebecca!

  13. Momonamission Reply

    So far, this is what works for my 14mo. old
    BREAKFAST: whole wheat toast with cream cheese, cream of wheat, oatmeal with cinnamon & dried fruit, grits or polenta, omelettes with veggies & cheese, green smoothies: banana, oranges, blue berries, grapes, mango, peaches, strawberries, kiwi, (some variety of about 3-4 fruits) & ALWAYS kale & spinach a bit of juice & ice ( because it’s super cold & tasty, she thinks this smoothie is a treat & I know she’s getting her veggies).
    SNACKS: cottage cheese, hard white cheeses, whole wheat crackers or goldfish, hard boiled egg, yogurt, hummus & veggies, avocado, Homade salsa has fresh tomatoes & herbs are healthy too so I throw in cilantro or basil.
    LUNCH & DINNER: mashed califlower, Brown rice, barley or lentils (can be added to soups too), my daughter loves mushrooms (they are easy to chew with so few teeth & take on any flavor you cook it in), in a pinch I do a can of beans or green beans, puréed veggie lasagna (basically noodles with cheese, veggies & sauce), I sautée cherry tomatoes briefly, celery cooked is soft & delicious, tuna patties (just from the can, add an egg, spoon of mayo, seasonings & corn bread, shape to patties & fry. We dip in sauce or do it in meatball size too for those who love kabobs), I’m sure there is more I just can’t think of. Luckily, my little one is a good eater. Even at 14 mo. I get her involved in the shopping. We look through the produce & I say “ooh look at this pretty color” or “wow this would be neat to try” & I make sure I eat everything she eats in front of her. Oh, I’ve puréed Brussels sprouts too. They are actually my favorite veggie when cooked right but my least favorite when cooked wrong. Good luck & stay healthy!!!

    • I love the tuna patties! Sounds like something I would gobble up. I’m crossing my fingers that my girls will like them. We don’t ever eat fish in my house because my husband doesn’t like it. But, I do make tuna for myself from time to time and making the patties for the girls and me would give us some omegas and would also be a cheap protein. Thanks for the tip!

  14. Take an apple, a banana, half an avocado, two handfuls of spinach, a few slices of ginger, a tsp of flax oil, a dash of honey, and add desired amount of water.. Maybe some frozen raspberries if you want it to be a little colder. It makes a delicious and filling smoothie for you & a young one.

    Sometimes we like to make instant noodles and top with raw veggies.. carrots, frozen peas that you thaw in some water, kale, red onion, celery, etc. Fry an egg and slice it into thin strips. Then make a peanut butter sauce.. a bit of peanut butter, cumin, tamari (soy sauce), garlic and water.. Sounds complex, but it goes together quickly.

    To make granola, mix oats, cinnamon, coconut and some nuts.. as much of each as you’d like. Mix with enough oil to coat.. add maple/honey/agave/brown sugar to taste.. Bake in the oven at 300 until it’s lightly browned. Add raisins/cranberries/apricots, etc after it’s out of the oven. We serve this over plain yogurt with frozen berries. It’s so delicious it’s like dessert, but there’s only as much sugar as you feel like adding.

    To make fish sticks.. buy some cheap white fish, take a hearty cereal (we use something called Heritage Flakes) and grind it up small. Dredge in flour, dip in egg, cover with cereal.. Bake on an oiled pan for 10 mins. This can be done with chicken too. We buy breasts with bone-in/skin-on as it’s way cheaper and only takes a few minutes to break down.

    We make lots of muffins.. I always try to add in zucchini, pumpkins or carrots. Recipes that have hardly any sugar.. use raisins or bananas as the sweetness.

    For a healthy icecream, take frozen bananas and an avocado.. Put in food processor. Add cocoa/vanilla.. Then add honey/maple/agave to sweeten to taste. Makes a creamy satisfying texture. You can also turn the banana icecream into an icecream cake.. Process nuts and dates with a bit of water to make a crust. Press into the bottom of a spring-form pan.. Top with “icecream”.. decorate with blueberries, etc.. freeze.

    We make pizza once a week too… It’s a good left-over meal.. My little guy usually wants it for breakfast the next morning. Favorite toppings are pineapple, olives, peppers, feta cheese, mushrooms.. You can also make a breakfast pizza with bacon, eggs and green onions.

    We love food around here. Hope you enjoy some of these ideas : )

    • Wow Angela, awesome ideas! I’m especially interested in your “ice cream” recipe. I recently tried the Yonanas machine that is supposed to turn frozen bananas into icecream, but the texture was off – not creamy enough. So, adding avocado sounds like a great solution. And I just learned how to make an “eggs benedict pizza” which I thought sounded gross, but is soooooo delicious! I’ll be serving that up to my family soon. Thanks so much for sharing your ideas!

  15. Grammy 24/7 Reply

    I have custody of my granbaby girl, now 18 mos, she does great with eggs, sausage links, bananna slices, milk, honey nut cheerios, or belgian waffles for breakfasts…but she is not great with the toddler meals I get from Walmart for her daycare meals…to tell the truth I don’t like them either! I can’t get her to touch veggies at all!! I do get her the Adam & Eve veggie drinks 3-5 times a day though and gummy vitamins… but I would feel better if I could find better lunches to pack for her at daycare!!

  16. I am so glad I found this list!!! My son is 11 months old and I am frantically trying to figure out what he can and will eat, while trying to keep it healthy! I haven’t made them yet, but I have an idea for breakfast that I thought I would share:

    -Sweet Potato Pancakes (I plan to make mini pancakes with the mix and then freeze them so I can take out a few in the morning, microwave them, and voila! I won’t be surprised if these make an afternoon snack appearance in my house as well.)

    Thanks for the great ideas!

  17. omegajamie Reply

    These are all great ideas — I have a 12 month old and stumbled on this while looking for new food ideas. Here’s one I haven’t seen on here yet and that you might like:

    Baked polenta/ corn mush: I either buy a package of corn mush and just fry it up for her, OR, I get some corn meal/ polenta and cook it up according to the directions — but I also add red pepper, black beans, spinach (chopped a bit), green beans… just whatever veggies I can cram in there. Once the polenta is cooked on the stove top and all the veggies are in there, I spoon it into a loaf pan and put it in the fridge — the next day, it’s ready to be sliced up and baked/ fried for lunch. For older kids, put some cheese and salsa on top. It’s quite delish!

  18. Breakfast in my house (South African family living in Cairo) consists of the following

    Oats with honey and sliced bananas
    All bran flakes (my kids think they chocolate LOL)
    Egg Bread (french toast) with Bovril (like Veggie mite)or peanut butter.
    Fruit salad cut up into small bite size pieces
    Flat bread (Arabic bread) under the grill with melted cheese and tomatoes cut up to look like a pizza

    Lunch in my house
    Mackerel fillets (the ones in tins) on toast – my 4 year old loves this – with sliced cucumber

    Omelet cut up into silly shapes with finely diced mushrooms, tomatoes and onions.

    Pasta and sauce – I make my own sauce as I puree carrots, tomatoes, courgettes, cauliflower and broccoli and add this to a bottle of store bought low salt tomato pasta sauce. They don’t even know they eating veggies! I also add some crispy bacon bits or sliced ham to this.

    Crumbed fish pieces with mayo for dipping and sweet potatoe baked fries.

    Snacks
    Store bought bread sticks with Bovril and ketchup for dipping
    Fresh fruit
    Minibix breakfast cereal with no milk

    Thanks for all the ideas! going to try out some of them this week!

    • Thanks Bee for your ideas! Definitely interesting to see what people in other countries feed their children too!

  19. Thanks for all the great ideas! I have good days and bad days feeding my 14-month-old. I’ve just started a blog to help me keep track of the recipes he likes and to help out friends in the same situation. I’d really appreciate some feedback!

    We’ve really all got to learn to be nicer to ourselves and pat ourselves on the back for the great job we’re doing rather than worrying about what we could do better 🙂

    Helen, your felt creations are gorgeous!

    thegingerbreadmum.com

    • Hey Anne, I will be sure to check out your blog soon. Thanks for hanging out here and feel free to add any helpful hints you discover along the way here on this post too! This is my most popular blog page – obviously we are all looking for meal inspiration.

  20. Oh- and I have bags of frozen squash puree that I add to mac & cheese or cauliflower to mashed potatoes (they LOVE mashed potatoes…especially if you make a volcano out of them)!

    • Jill, you are soooooooooooo creative! I love the idea of making a volcano out of mashed potatoes. I’m Irish and German so potatoes are a stable for me, but my girls won’t touch them. Boo.

  21. My kids will eat anything kabob’d. We use toothpicks and make mini kabobs with strawberries, grapes, string cheese cut into chunks or cubed cheese, cooked turkey sausage, and quartered hard boiled eggs. Soup and sandwiches or quesadillas are another go-to lunch/dinner.
    Another favorite for snack is blueberries or raisins or strawberries dipped in yogurt then tossed in the freezer until firm- DIY frozen yogurt bites. They also both love dried fruit- if you make it yourself you can avoid the added sugar.
    My son would live on pbj if we let him…in fact, he’s taken to eating his pbj on the bus on the way to school. 🙁 lol.

    • Jill, thanks so much for sharing your food idea. Can’t wait to try the frozen yogurt fruit bites. Sounds so yummy, healthy and easy. I’m also going to try the kabob idea. Thanks!

  22. Hey guys I also wanted to add some things to the list that my two year old loves!

    Breakfast
    Raisin toast
    Turkey sausage
    Baby omlet puree some veggies mix it with your eggs pour into a frying pan with a little butter let it cook and then flip it! ( you can cut it into fun shapes with a cookie cutter and sneak in almost any veggie you want!!

    Snacks
    Whole grain pretzels
    Frozen yogurt bites ( I make these by placing yogurt in a ziploc cutting the corner and making dots with it on a cookie sheet and freezing them) it’s a great snack and my Lo loves them and they are much better than ice cream or Popsicles!!
    Fresh fruit smoothie
    Moms invest in a dehydrator you can make banana chips and homemade fruit roll ups with all sorts of fruit purées also sweet potato chips without all those extra ingredients super healthy and the kids love them!!!

    Lunch and dinner
    Black beans and rice or brown rice or any other type of bean they are super packed with protein.
    Homemade chicken noodle soup
    Chicken and rice ( cook your rice with chicken broth instead of water toss in some chicken and any veggie you would like you can also purée it and throw it in there for the picky eaters.
    Veggie Mac and cheese they now sell a box of Mac and cheese that contains a half a serving of veggies per serving. Don’t really like serving frozen or boxed things but when I’m in a hurry this is my go to lunch. Served with Perdue frozen chicken nuggets, they are 100% all natural ingredients no preservatives no fillers and breaded with whole grain! I feel they are more healthier than any of the other ones on the market and I feel good about them because you can bake them. Hey it’s better than mcdonalds!

    Well I hope my ideas help love this! Thanks also to the other moms for Sharing some great ideas!!! 🙂

    • Sjonea, you are the bomb! Thanks for sharing all these wonderful ideas. I love the frozen yogurt bites and you are seriously making me want a dehydrator now. Do you use kids baby food like pear puree, etc. to make the fruit roll-ups?

  23. Great list! Thank you for sharing this!
    My go to breakfast for my 18 mo old is Rice Krispies cereal with crumbled up freeze-dried rasberries and enough milk to get everything to stick together but not get too mushy. He hasn’t mastered spoon feeding himself yet, but he loves eating this.

  24. I have a 5 yr old and a 1 yr old who are both relatively picky eaters. Neither of them will touch meat unless its popcorn chicken or chicken breast tenders/nuggets. They both have a very simple diet and I feel like I do the same thing every 3 days if not everyday. I am always looking for ideas and I think this is by far the best site of ideas I have found. I printed out the whole forum and am going to go to the store and pick up some groceries to try some of these ideas. I really hope I can get my kids to eat more variety. Thankfully they both like the majority of fruits and veggies I give them. They would eat PB&J all day long every day if I would let them.

    • Do you know how good it makes me feel that you think this is the best list of ideas you’ve found? It makes me so happy! You’ll have to keep me posted on whether your kids like any of the new things you try!

  25. I have a 13 month old that thankfully, is not very picky but i still find myself searching the internet for great healthy and organic meal options for him.
    He loves my recipe for broccoli bites, which is steamed and chopped broc florets, grated cheese, some bread crumbs, a egg, and i add steamed and chopped spinach for an extra veg kick. you can add whatever spices they like. bake them in little rounds or fun shapes in the oven, i always make a lot and freeze them. There great! I also make Mini meat loaves in a muffin tin using ground turkey, some cheese and i add grated carrots to it too. i freeze those as well to always have something on hand. He loves them!

    thanks for the great ideas 🙂

    • Wow, great ideas Ashley. So creative. I will have to try your recipes out.

  26. Thank you for the ideas! I have 1 year old triplet girls and was running out of things to try that all 3 will eat! Right now their favorite food is whole wheat sandwiches with cream cheese and homemade strawberry jam. I just cut them into very small pieces. They all so eat a lot of yogurt with berries.

    I will be trying hummus, chicken meatballs and quesadillas in the next few days! :o)

    • Cream cheese and strawberry jam sandwiches sound good to me! Happy to help a mom of three one-year-olds any time!!!

  27. These are great suggestions! I have a 5, 3 and 18 month old. I get in a rut a lot with mealtimes. So, thank you!

    For breakfast, I would suggest some fruit smoothies, cheese toast, & applesauce in addition to all the great suggestions.

    For lunch and dinner, my kids LOVE fish sticks, mac and cheese (it’s much healthier home made and doesn’t take more than 20 minutes), pasta, quesadillas, wraps, lunch meats, homemade mini pizzas, etc.

    My kids also like to have a “buffet.” I give them a plate and then take several small bowls and fill them with different healthy items like cut up fruit, crackers, small cut up veggies, as well as peanut butter, raisins, pretzels, shredded cheese, etc. They like that they can pick and choose what to eat.

    Thanks again! 🙂

    • Bethany, those are fabulous ideas – especially the buffet. How fun! I like making fruit smoothies too. We do a super simple one with one frozen banana, some milk or soymilk and a dash of cinnamon. Blend it up and it’s a creamy, sweet treat with zero sugar. 🙂

    • Get those veggies in there somehow, right? Great tip Tara for kids that won’t pick out the colored stuff. 🙂 I did a grown up version of this last night – pasta, pesto sauce, cauliflower and shredded prosciutto. It’s a one pot meal, cooks fast and tastes great.

  28. My grandma used to make me pastina with V8. I now make it for my kids and they love it. I boil pastina in water- when the water is almost boiled down, I add the v8 and continue cooking on very low heat until that boils down a bit as well. I buy low sodium V8. I finish it off with some grated parm. My 4 year old daughter takes this to school EVERY DAY in a thermos! Its great because shes getting a full serving of veggies in. Try it! I have it posted on my blog.

    • Wow, that’s a new one I’m going to try! I was introduced to pastina by my Italian mother-in-law but I’ve never made it for the kids myself (I think she uses chic broth). I’ll have to try it out. Thanks for the tip!

    • I do chicken broth as well. You can also do a little butter…grated cheese is great topped off on either of the 2. I do warn you, can be very messy! My 2 year old tracks it through the house!

  29. Theses are all awesome ideas! I have a nine month old that I am struggling to find good meal ideas for. This has been really helpful!

  30. Great suggestions! My son is such a picky eater I always have a hard time finding something “healthy” for him to eat, while my daughter will try almost anything. Happy SITS day!

  31. These are really good suggestions! I’m going to use them for my 4 year and my nine month old!!

  32. Some of our favorite snacks are warmed up waffles from breakfast … with a slathering of PB.

    Enjoy your SITS day!

    • Me too! We just had that this morning – PB&J waffles. Yummy and filling.

  33. These are all great suggestions, thank you! I have a 1 year old and am looking for new ways to introduce food to him. If I do the quesadilla, should I cut it up for him so he can pick up little pieces or let him bite it. I just feel like he would try to put too much in his mouth at once. As for things like raw apples, vessies, peas & corn – are they ok for his age? I just worry about choking – or should I get over this to a certain extent and let him try new things?

    • Angela, you have every right to be concerned about choking. Better safe than sorry, right? My answer would depend on how many teeth your little boy has at this point. If he doesn’t have many, I would definitely cut the quesadilla up for him into whatever size you feel comfortable with. As for veggies, I used canned, no-salt-added peas and green beans. They are soft. Corn is harder for kids to actually chew. It always ends up whole in their poop even at 3.5 years old! But, they like and eat it. It’s just that they don’t break it down as much as they should. Steamed broccoli, cauliflower and zucchini are all soft. I would still cut all of those up in sizes you feel comfortable with. You can also get cherry tomatoes and cucumbers and quarter them. As for apples, I would cut slivers off of a raw apple so that they are thin and there really isn’t much of a crunchy, bulky factor going on until he’s a better chewer. I hope that helps. FYI, I’ve heard that lettuce and hotdogs are some of those most common items kids choke on.

    • Yes hotdogs are big time choking hazards for most children, I have two children and also work in childcare so I have seen a lot of the choking in the young ones, however if you do not expose children to foods they have to chew a little when when they do have a mouth full of teeth they bite off way too much and then they really choke. So if you cut a quesadilla into strips and see how he handles it, they learn very fast not only how big of bites they should take but how to cough items back up if they do begin to gag or choke, my one year old can eat just about anything without cutting it up much, my 2 1/2 year old was the same way, we have a baby girl at daycare who is a couple month older than my youngest and if you give her anything she has to chew she chokes… But as said above go with what you are comfortable… I just know for me I can not worry about my boys as much having given them the learning experiences.

  34. One of my go to dinner meals for my 14 month old is a quesadilla. I buy a rotisserie chicken and some veggies (usually sqaush and zuchinni). I sautee the veggies and then put them in the food processor with the chicken and make a mixture. Then I do a thick layer of cheese and a layer of the chicken and veggies. Great way to hide some veggies. He loves it!

  35. Awesome selections, Kristi!! I'm going to have to print this out for some new ideas. We do a lot of egg dishes at breakfast. Egg and avocado burritos are big around here. We also eat burritos for lunch too with beans, rice and cheese. I like to make my spanish rice with lots of veggies in it. (corn, peas, carrots and onions) The kids don't seems to notice them, whereas other times they complain when foods have too many things mixed together. We also eat a lot of soups. Baked potato soup. Black bean soup. Chicken tortilla soup. But there is also plenty of mac and cheese and peanut butter and jelly found around here too. Usually eaten directly off the living room carpet for added fun factor and nutrtition. (Kidding.) (Mostly.) Ha!

  36. These are some great suggestions – thanks!! Waffles are my go to for breakfast as well – with toppings like peanut butter, they have some staying power.

    When I'm ambitious, I mash some steamed cauliflower into my anti-veggie kids' mac and cheese – they don't even notice it!

  37. One of our favorite breakfasts for both my toddler and 10 month-old is a container of yogurt mixed with cheerios. My older child has been eating this since she was little and still loves it!
    A new favorite lunch is peanut butter, banana and a bit of honey in a tortilla. Such an easy, healthy meal and I usually have all the ingredients!
    I want to share a great Facebook page for any of you that are on Facebook. “Weelicious” is a great page that is full of wonderful meal ideas for children. I have made several of her recipes and they have been delicious! I love the cheese and apple quesadillas (so did my toddler!) If you “like” her page, you will get a new recipe and ideas for a kids packed lunch everyday. Hope this helps!

  38. This came at the right time. I was just thinking that my 2 year old eats the same thing for dinner every night! I need some new ideas for her and for me. Ok, I am making my shopping list…fingers crossed.

  39. Nice list! My kids are older–6 and 8. My youngest will try anything at least once but my 8 yr old would happily live on cereal if I'd let him!

    Visiting from SITS!

  40. What are you talking about Mandy? Your meals sound healthy and delicious as well. Thanks for sharing!

  41. Wow! I'm sending my kids to your house! That all sounds so healthy and delicious.

    In Mandyland…

    Breakfast
    Frozen waffles with peanut butter, local honey and bananas
    Cheerios
    Scrambled eggs and toast – rarely. (The kids aren't fond of eggs, darn it.)

    Lunch
    School
    Turkey sandwiches, almonds, craisins, crackers, hummus, pumpkin muffins and fruit
    Pasta
    Bean burritos
    Home –
    pasta, quessadilla, grilled cheese, mac and cheese, leftovers

    Dinner –
    Pasta
    Homemade pizzas
    Veggie burgers and sweet potato fries
    Roasted chicken
    chili
    soup
    fish and couscous
    roasted root veggies
    stir fry
    fajitas
    burritos
    tacos
    hot dogs

    When I say that J is a picky eater, it's not that he won't eat all of the above, it's that he'll claim to love it on Monday and hate it on Friday. Elizabeth eats all of the above. Most of the time.

    • Love the refried bean idea, I am thinking bean and cheese quesadillas that you can hide things in. I am in love with steam fresh veggies when I don’t have time for fresh, so much better than canned and easy to keep a good supply on hand. I make chicken meatballs and freeze them. Stoneyfield organic squeeze ups out of the freezer are always a hit and my daughter thinks it is ice cream! Fruit, fruit and more fruit. Ellios frozen pizza is actually all natural, with no transfat and made with real cheese and easy to just make the portion size you need. I also add jarred baby vegetables to homemade muffins, such as carrots or sweet potatoes. Roasted sweet potato chunks also always a hit.

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